KEY POINTS

  • Police declared the protests a “riot” after protesters grew violent and refused to disperse
  • Cops arrested at least 13 people on charges including resisting arrest and property destruction
  • Portland has been a hotbed of protests for nearly four months

Protesters in Portland threw Molotov cocktails at police officers during a demonstration over a Kentucky grand jury’s decision to not directly charge officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.

Hundreds of demonstrators flooded the Multnomah County Justice Center on Wednesday to protest the Taylor case, NBC/CW+ affiliated KTVZ reported. At least 13 arrests were made between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, the Portland police said.

Several speakers addressed the crowd from the steps of the justice center and encouraged people to continue pushing for racial equality in the U.S. However, the mostly peaceful protest quickly got out of control.

Portland police said in a statement that a group of protesters threw rocks toward a nearby cop precinct, shattering glass windows at the entrance and making it difficult for the officers inside to safely evacuate the building.

Police said the demonstrators then used slingshots to launch Molotov cocktails, or homemade firebombs, through the precinct's broken windows.

According to the statement, a Molotov cocktail was thrown toward the officers during an "unlawful assembly" and at least one cop was struck in the foot. A fire department medic managed to put out the flames. Two more Molotov cocktails were thrown at officers in separate places as cops worked to disperse the crowd.

Law enforcement deemed the protest a "riot" and federal officers guarding a courthouse in Portland set off smoke devices toward the crowd gathered nearby. Officers also used pepper spray to scatter the crowd, the Oregonian Live reported.

Thirteen people were arrested on charges including resisting arrest, property destruction, and refusing to disperse. One of the detainees, Joseph Robert Sipe, was allegedly seen in a now-viral video throwing a Molotov cocktail in the cops’ direction.

Police arrested Sipe on suspicion of attempted murder Thursday and booked him into the Multnomah County Jail. During Sipe's arraignment Thursday, prosecutors said the 23-year-old did not appear to be the person who threw the Molotov cocktail and declined to file multiple felony charges against him, the Oregon Live reported.

Portland, Oregon’s largest city, has been a hotbed of protests for nearly four months over racial injustice and police brutality, with Deputy Police Chief Chris Davis calling Wednesday night’s demonstrations the most violent the city has seen thus far, the Associated Press reported.

Taylor, a Black emergency medical technician, was fatally shot in March by Louisville Metro Police Department officers who came to serve a no-knock search warrant at her apartment in a drug trafficking investigation. Her death sparked months of protests against police brutality.

The demonstrations escalated after the Kentucky grand jury's decision. One of the officers, Brett Hankinson, was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing his weapon into an adjoining apartment, while the jury declined to issue an indictment directly relating to Taylor's death.

Protesters hold up a picture of Breonna Taylor as they march against police brutality in Los Angeles, on September 23, 2020 Protesters hold up a picture of Breonna Taylor as they march against police brutality in Los Angeles, on September 23, 2020 Photo: AFP / Apu GOMES